TUESDAY 8 AUGUST KING EDWARD RIVER
Today was hot and sunny, with more smoke haze.
D and R left for Barnett Gorge.
We’d finally had enough of the lilo-interrupted sleep! John went in the river with it and found a hole – in the flat top surface, not around the valve or a seam, as we would have expected. Left it to dry while we were away.
We drove to the art site here that we’d heard about – back near the river crossing. This was most impressive. To me, it was on a par with the Nourlangie rock art site in Kakadu.
It was in an area where blocks of rock outcropped from the otherwise flat ground. There were a couple of galleries of Wandjina heads – these were quite eerie: the eyes seem to “follow” you. I felt they were benign, protective images, though.
The Wandjina were creation spirits. When they found the place they would die, they painted their image on rock walls, then entered the nearby waterhole. It was thought they ensured the coming of the monsoon rains, and for that reason they were repainted every year.
There was a deal of other art work too, of a different style of red outlines and infill lines.
We explored fairly thoroughly amongst the clusters of outcrops. Here again, the fires had been our friend, because some of the area had been burnt a while ago and thus it was easy for us to see where we were going and to walk around.
In our explorations, we found two skulls up on what must have been a burial ledge, with some other bones. I am not sure we should have seen those!
Looking around this area was all a rather special experience.
We picked up some firewood on the way back to camp.
The lilo had dried while we were away and John tried to repair it by putting silicone on it. He was not sure if this would work, but it seemed the best option with the materials available. He later put repair tape over the silicone.
We went for a swim in the river near our camp. The water was cool and lovely. Lazed around for a while, then went for another swim – it was good to feel cool and clean.
This campground was not as busy as I’d expected. It has a composting toilet.
There was much bird life, especially butcher birds. Four brolgas flew in and did some feeding nearby.
There was a family camped down along the river who had been here since before D and R arrived – at least a week. Their vehicle was broken down and they were waiting on a part. The guy had hitched a ride to Drysdale River Station to arrange it. I imagined that getting the part, plus the services of the mechanic from Drysdale River, were going to cost a significant amount.
There was also a camp set up by a tourist company, further along – with permanent (for the season) tents. The camp cook was there all the time.
We got chatting to another couple of campers. The man runs an equipment hire firm in Mt Isa. He invited us to look him up next time we are in Mt Isa – which will probably be next year – and he will show us around the place.
Tea was udon noodles with stir fry vegies, then tinned fruit.
The fire across the river was very bright tonight.
John was not optimistic that the lilo repair would hold, but it actually stayed up all night. It felt so good to wake in the night and not be resting on the hard ground.
At night, there was a bush curlew chorus nearby – quite close. It sounded like there were several of them, calling to each other. It is a lovely noise.